HP Responds to Consumer Reports "High Cost of Wasted Printer Ink"

Consumer Reports recentlysaid that some printers can waste more than half of their ink because of maintenance cycles. Here at HP, we know that if you don’t pick the right printer for your needs, you might not be getting your money’s worth. How does that happen? Let’s get to the bottom of it.


There are easy ways to ensure you don’t waste ink. HP printers are designed to be left on, reducing ink guzzling maintenance cycles and giving you instant access to a wide range of Wi-Fi printer apps.At HP, we are always trying to educate and empower our customers (Like this story on how to keep your ink healthy and working longer).  We support the work of Consumer Reports, as continued testing better informs customer choice. However, there are some important things to consider when interpreting these latest results.


But first, let’s back up a moment. HP designs different printers to accommodate the different printing needs of its customers. For example, we know most people who print at home will only print occasionally—maybe printing out a report, movie ticket or a photograph every so often. Compare this to the small- and medium-sized business customers that are prone to printing out big batches of documents on a regular basis, and you see we have two vastly different audiences.


So why is this important to Consumer Report’s testing?


For the home user, we’ve setup our printers to account for the constant starts and stops. The HP ENVY ranks highly amongst other consumer printers in Consumer Reports’ study because it’s designed for intermittent printing. (THAT is the main thrust of their test.)


The small- and medium-sized business customer needs a printer that sees constant use. While a home user might go a week or two without printing, a business printer will only go a couple of hours between prints. The Officejet printer is designed for higher-volume printing customers and its maintenance cycles are tuned for a device that gets used more frequently. If Consumer Reports had conducted a test using their older, batch printing standard, the results for Officejet would have been much different.


Also, by turning off the printer between uses, Consumer Reports inadvertently increased their ink usage. Believe it or not, leaving the printer on between uses actually results in less ink wasted, because it allows the maintenance cycles, which use very little ink, to occur on a regular basis.


Why do we have the maintenance cycles in the first place? Without printer maintenance cycles, the ink cartridge could fill up with air, so when you went to print, it would emit bubbles of air along with droplets of ink, which would seriously reduce the quality of your print out. It’s a little bit like sucking on a straw and, instead of getting a continuous stream of delicious beverage, you end up with a mix of air and liquid. Not as enjoyable.


Regular servicing allows trace amounts of ink to remove air bubbles from the system. Each printer and cartridge design has a specially designed maintenance algorithm that continuously monitors the printer to keep it running smoothly, which is why we recommend leaving the printer on—it can perform minor service cycles whereas turning the printer off and on will make it run several large maintenance cycles.


And don’t worry about power consumption - HP printers are EnergyStar certified and, when left turned on, actually use less power than a doorbell.


The Auto-On/Auto-Off feature of HP printers is just one way HP helps you maximize your ink use.


In fact, here are four fantastic tips I like to give people for awesome print quality without wasting ink.


  • Use HP’s Smart Print application. Ever try printing out a recipe and get a page bogged down with ads that you didn’t even want on your screen? With this application, you can make sure they don’t show up on your printed page either
  • Be a Times New Roman Gladiator. Something as simple as changing your font from Arial to Times New Roman can save you nearly $20 per year in printing costs.
  • Don’t replace you cartridge until you decide to. “Low ink” warnings on HP printers are there to remind you to pick up another cartridge, but you can keep on printing until the quality of the print no longer meets your standards.
  • Don’t replace your cartridge at the end of a print job. If you’re done with the job and the print quality looks a bit suspect, you don’t need to plug in a new cartridge right then. Instead, wait until the next time you need to print and install it then. This will prevent unnecessary maintenance cycles from occurring on a new cartridge.


Labels: Editorial
by gerardof71
on ‎12-10-2013 11:35 AM

Your practice of generating ink-wasting test pages is highly unethical. I will never buy an HP printer again.

by Curli
on ‎05-16-2016 12:31 PM

I will likely never buy HP again because of the wasted ink. HP states there is a reason for it, but if American's hadn't used inkjet printers for decades and not ever needed these insane ongoing cleaning cycles we would have believed them. We don't. Today my printer has spent 5 solid minutes cleaning itself. Some days I will have as many as 15 - 20 minutes of cleaning cycles in a day each one wasting enough ink to run out of another color until the process starts again. Don't even get me started on the wonderful timing of these printer cleanings. Never convenient! This is lining HPs pockets but it's gouging the consumers. Of course HP doesn't care, they just attempt to justify their actions. My office manager's Canon doesn't do this. Her previous Lexmark didn't do it. My dad's Kodak doesn't do it, and my previous Epson didn't do it. So... goodbye HP. You might have earned some cash off of me to start, but you have lost my business and the business of everyone I can possibly encourage to avoid you in the future. 

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